A collaborative project between the students, faculty, and staff of Smithland Elementary School and Skyline Middle School, Woven Together is a visual representation of each individual's story, shown within the context of our campus community. Participants answered questions about their region of origin, family make-up, favorite subjects, and spoken languages, and their answers were "graphed" onto their respective weaving. As you view this project, we hope you are reminded that while we each have a unique story to tell, our stories overlap and share commonalities with the stories of others in our community.
The students and staff of SMES & SKMS were surveyed and the creation of our collaborative project began! Many thanks to our Tech Ed Department for helping to cut our 4' diameter circles as the base for our project. The SMES Art Club painted the tints that became the base for the woven string art created by SKMS art students. Each circle has a number/letter in the center outlined with an equal number of nails representing that group. The outer edge of each circle has nails corresponding to each possible answer from the survey questions. The finished string art creations are each a unique visual representation of the diversity of our learning communities and elements that help us find the ties that bind us in unity.
#NAEA17 brought the opportunity for Kate Nesmith and I to share our instructional strategies sharing the Studio Habits of Mind in our Elementary and Middle School environments.
The presentation shared how we both help to encourage our students to develop the eight studio habits of Understanding the Arts Community, Observing, Engaging & Persistence, Reflecting, Stretch & Exploring, Expression, Developing Craft, and Envision. At different levels the same terms are being shared with students to help them continue to grow as a young artist.
As a new school year begins I find myself filled with a variety of emotions. Dreaming of the potential creative endeavors and finding ways to problem solve the growing number of students filling our school. This school finds our school filled with over 976 students who come from a variety of backgrounds speaking 43 different languages at home. One of my goals for the year will be incorporating more opportunities for students to read, write and speak through art.
I would love to hear how other art teachers are goal setting for their school year or how you incorporate literacy in your programs!
Skyline Falcon Artists with the support of a Harrisonburg Educational Foundation Grant created kites that represented their dreams for the future. Students were inspired to symbolically represent what they want to accomplish in the future. We lifted our art work to fill the air with visual representations of dreams and the sound of pure joy in flying a kite!
Kite kits helped make the process less intimidating for our students and took the stress of achieving flight away. We ordered the Frustrationless Flier kits which allow students to paint or decorate with markers on the Tyvek material. Students can follow easy to build directions to add the fiberglass rods, tape and bridle line. The wind just needed to be 3mph to get our dreams to soar high into the sky!
Memories of childhood will be kept in the hearts of these middle school students as they take their dreams to the high school in the fall. I am thankful for their bravery in opening up their hearts and sharing their visual voice through art this school year. May each of them never stop reaching for their goals and find themselves surrounded by stars!
Reach as High as You Can Day is celebrated always on April 14 to expand our horizons. And, it truely will be an uplifting experience. Today, there are no limits. You can literally reach for the sky.
Is there something you've wanted to "go for", and felt it was just out of reach? A new job, perhaps? Maybe a date with that cute co-worker or classmate. Whatever the challenge you face, if you reach as high as you can, you just might win the prize. And, you will never know until you try.
So, use Reach as High as You Can Day to reach and attain, or even surpass, your goals and objectives. You'll be oh, so glad that you did!
Teaching students to find creative solutions for transforming objects into art is part of our annual Altered Book Project.
The pages of a book hold endless possibilities to create, whether a sculpture, poetry, a canvas for new work, or niches for treasures. To start the project I introduced the concept of an altered book as a way to create 2D or 3D art work inspired by a book. On Pinterest I collected examples to show students and talked through a variety of approaches students could take with their altered book. (pinterest board link below!)
After a class discussion the students were able to sort through a large selection of books that have been donated from staff, and library discarded books. The books sometimes inspire the sculpture or students come with an idea of a new visual story they would like to create. Students sketch their ideas in their sketchbook to prepare their ideas and plan the steps.
Students were given one week to complete the altered books with a variety of materials like cardboard, tissue paper, scrap paper, etc to add into their sculpture. The unique approaches were thrilling to watch as they developed.
Many of the altered books will be on display in our regional library and school library through out April and May! We hope you will stop by and check out their work either in the library or online in our Artsonia Gallery!
Our weekly Staff Leadership Team meets every Monday, this week one moment stood out in my memory like none other. One of my administrators happily exclaimed that there were ONLY 50 school days left.... WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?
Panic set in...the list of things I need to do in the next 50 school days just ran through my mind. I have two more clay projects, the fine arts night is coming, new students start next week, but they missed art because of testing and field trips, I have to get my 3" Goal Binder filled, oh then there are those organizing projects, changing my bulletin boards, and ... the list goes on.
The more I contemplated, I suddenly had images in my mind of what others probably expect when they announce the...
Teacher's Summer Count Down
Sure, I love a good snow day to catch up on TV, laundry and all other ways to celebrate the unexpected day off, but it seems every year I have a little feeling of panic trying to make sure to accomplish all my goals set for the school year. It never fails when an art show deadline looms that the kids will be pulled for a field trip, testing or meetings. There is a wonderful juggling act of time management, deadlines, and making the most of time available as the year draws to a close.
As I talked myself through the idea of the countdown I realized that I just needed to not panic!
Basically, we all do our best to fit in all the art shows, advocacy moments, special projects the students will remember for years to come between PD, conferences, and keeping up with our personal lives. Summer is a time to reflect, make plans for next year, visit with family and perhaps take in some special professional development or just a simple trip with family. While it is a wonderful and needed time of reflection, there is that moment of sadness when special students will move on to the high school. I will not panic. Instead, I'll enjoy the last nine weeks of 2015-2016 school year and every creative moment left!